German-Irish actor Michael Fassbender said playing the character of a sadistic plantation owner in '12 Years A Slave' was so harrowing he passed out during one violent scene.
The 36-year-old, who is tipped for an Oscar for his performance in the film, said a scene in which he had to rape and beat a young slave girl proved too much for him.
Fassbender, who was raised in Killarney, Co. Kerry, said he “keeled over” in front of the film crew.
“That was a kind of strange one,” he told Express.co.uk.
“I just blacked out and came to sort of in the middle of the scene. That has never happened to me.”
Many scenes in the film are so violent that film-goers have left cinemas in tears. The film has been compared to ‘Schindler’s List’ for the emotional impact it has had on viewers.
Fassbender plays the role of Edwin Epps, a plantation owner who delights in abusing slave girl Patsey, who is played by 30-year-old Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o.
“You are doing things that are quite challenging. I guess mentally and physically,” Fassbender said.
“The good thing is it’s over in a short period of time, so it’s a very intense focus for a concentrated amount of time.
“So you think to yourself, ‘I just have to be crazy for another couple of weeks’.”
The film, directed by Briton Steve McQueen, is in cinemas on January 28.
Meanwhile, Fassbender has shed the ’12 Years A Slave’ character and taken up the challenge to be as smouldering handsome as possible as he has become the second ever man to grace the cover of ‘Elle’.
Following in the footsteps of footballer David Beckham, who became the British version of the magazine’s first male solo cover star in July 2012, Fassbender spoke to the magazine about his childhood and his looks.
Fassbender said he “never really thought” of himself as attractive and always thought he had “unfortunate hair”.
“I think of myself as, you know, alright. I used to have bad acne as a teenager, so all of this is a bonus now, the fact that I don't have pimples anymore,” he said.
“And my hair was also, you know, unfortunate. I had really long hair. I mean, I tied it back most of the time, but I had all these frizzy bits coming off the top and whenever I let the hair down, it went like this [indicates big frizzy hair].”
The actor posed for the black and white cover shoot wearing his trademark outfit of dark trousers, jacket and t-shirt.
Renowned English photographer David Bailey shot the photos for the limited edition cover.